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Rookies

2020 Rookie Rundown: Week 3

A look at the top-10 rookie performers from Week 3 of the NFL.

Week 3 is a breakout week for rookies. Before the Monday night game, there are currently four rookies inside the top-24 scorers on the week. This week, we see even more diversity in who enters the top-10 rookies. In Week 3, we finally have our first rookie tight end added to the list, and Week 3 marks the first time there are more wide receivers listed than running backs. 

The information provided below is provided from FantasyData.com using their half-point ppr filter and is written before the start of Monday Night Football.

For this post, quarterbacks are not mentioned.

James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Stats Rushing: 11-46-2
Stats Receiving: 6-83-0 (6 targets)
Snap Share: 45.5%
Weekly Finish: 4 overall (RB3)

For the time being, Robinson is the workhorse, in terms of touches, on this team. Robinson fined the week with a 56.7% utilization rate (rushes + receptions) and is only seeing competition from Chris Thompson in the backfield. As mentioned previously, there are a couple of other runners to pay attention to in this backfield, but Robinson has the complete run of this opportunity for the time being.

Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Stats Receiving: 7-175-1 (9 targets)
Snap Share: 78.5%
Weekly Finish: 5 overall (WR2)

After sputtering the last two weeks, the Minnesota Vikings needed an infusion of excitement next to Adam Thielen. While turning on the tape, Jefferson displayed everything the first-round wide could provide to the Vikings. Jefferson was strong over the middle of the field, high pointed a ball in a contested-catch situation very well, beat a defender downfield, and dropped a touchdown in the end zone. Week 3 was a breakout performance by Jefferson and a possible glimpse of what this team could be if things open up.

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Stats Rushing: 3-31-1
Stats Receiving: 5-70-0 (8 targets)
Snap Share: 72.7%
Weekly Finish: 22 overall (WR11)

It is so much fun watching the 49ers offense operate, and Aiyuk is a perfect fit for their quick slant and yards after the catch scheme. In Week 3, Aiyuk’s second game of his career, he saw targets over the middle and operated as a runner on end-around plays. The 49ers were creative with him often, and Nick Mullens was able to hit him in stride frequently. Zooming out at the position as a whole, the 49ers have Deebo Samuel return from injury soon, and George Kittle has missed the last two weeks. Aiyuk’s 14.3% target share could take a hit, but he is still a player to buy where possible.

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Stats Receiving: 5-40-2 (9 targets)
Snap Share: 79.2%
Weekly Finish: 23 overall (RB12)

This is a little hyperbolic, but Higgins reminds me of Brandon Marshall. Like Marshall, Higgins was never a burner, but did work well in contested catch situations and could use his body well against defenders. While I love what I saw from him, this performance should be kept in context. All three of the Bengals wide receivers saw over 75% of the team’s snaps, and Joe Burrow threw the ball 44 times, fourth-most in Week 3. Buyer beware on this stat line.

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Stats Rushing: 13-59-1
Stats Receiving: 1-3-0 (1 targets)
Snap Share: 40%
Weekly Finish: 55 overall (RB20)

If you own Taylor, you should have plenty of excitement. He scored a touchdown with limited touches and escaped the week healthy. In Week 3, Indianapolis was ahead quickly, and Jonathan Taylor was pulled for Jordan Wilkins. 

Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team

Credit: Nick Wass/AP Photo

Stats Rushing: 9-49-1
Stats Receiving: 3-11-0 (3 targets)
Snap Share: 40%
Weekly Finish: 62 overall (RB24)

Every week Gibson gets a little more run, and we should be buying where people are cooling on him. In Week 3, Gibson saw a 46.2% utilization rate on only 40% of the touches. This means when Gibson was on the field, he was being used. Unfortunately, on Gibson’s best run of the day, he ran a wheel route and had a good angle toward the sideline. Instead of just going out of bounds with the ball, Gibson tries to turn upfield for more yards and fumbles it. 

Gabriel Davis, WR, Buffalo Bills

Stats Receiving: 4-81-0 (4 targets)
Snap Share: 74.2%
Weekly Finish: 67 overall (WR36)

A newcomer to this list, Davis was an intriguing selection by the Buffalo Bills in 2020. He currently sits as the WR4 behind Stefon Diggs, John Brown, and Cole Beasley and even farther back if you count the runners and tight ends. I think the question to ask is, “what is Davis’ role going forward?” This is very important. At this time, John Brown is signed through 2021 and Cole Beasley through 2022. Zooming out, there are big questions about the long-term role for Davis. Zooming in, with John Brown sustaining a calf injury in Week 3, Davis could see a significant uptick in snaps.

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Stats Rushing: 1-1-0
Stats Receiving: 5-65-0 (6 targets)
Snap Share: 59.8%
Weekly Finish: 72 overall (WR40)

We are witnessing a wide receiver stud in the making. At this point, there is no part of the game CeeDee Lamb isn’t impacting. At this time, Lamb is operating both from the slot and in the perimeter, and his targets are both close to the line of scrimmage and deeper down the field. The only reason for concern, to me, is the use of Lamb on punt returns. 

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos

Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Stats Receiving: 5-55-0 (9 targets)
Snap Share: 73%
Weekly Finish: 84 overall (WR43)

Outside of the final stat line, there are plenty of things to like about Jerry Jeudy’s trajectory in 2020. Jeudy currently ranks 13th in the NFL in targets and 26th in receptions. With Courtland Sutton out for the year, the sky is the limit for Jeudy as he continues to put it together in 2020. Unfortunately, with Jeff Driskel at the helm, the target quality will not be there.

Harrison Bryant, TE, Cleveland Browns

Stats Receiving: 1-3-1 (2 targets)
Snap Share: 63.5%
Weekly Finish: 102 overall (TE21)

The touchdown is really what carried Bryant into the top-10, but it was a solid play. With the pocket collapsing, Baker Mayfield scrambles to his right and finds Harris Bryant, who comes all the way across the field, beating his defender in the back of the end zone. The Browns don’t have David Njoku when and Austin Hooper left the game for a couple of snaps in Week 3. This is not a situation I want to buy into.

The Breakdown

RB – 3 (15 total)
WR – 6 (14 total)
TE – 1 (1 total)

The 2020 class is full of so many great skill position players. Based on utilization, I would be throwing out offers for D’Andre Swift. Unfortunately, he is dealing with a three-headed backfield at the moment. If the runway clears for him and receives closer to 50% utilization, we will have another top-15 weekly scorer on our hands.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If you found any of the information in this article useful, give me a follow on Twitter @TimNFL. More great pieces can be found on the Dynasty Nerds website, and don’t forget to subscribe to the DynastyGM. For the price of a cup of coffee, you can see how your team measures up against your league, find a trade partner, and more. Enjoy seamless integration with MFL, Fleaflicker, Sleeper, as well as manual input for other platforms.

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